Brothers reunite with Boys Town family teachers after 17 years

The brothers were just kids when they left their tough home life in Las Vegas and came to Boys Town
Brothers who overcame the odds.
Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 5:44 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Jorge and Francisco Mazon were just kids when they left their tough home life in Las Vegas and came to Boys Town.

Now all grown up, the brothers were able to reunite with the family teachers who played a big part in shaping who they are today.

Jorge and Francisco returned to campus for the annual alumni convention. It’s been 17 years since they were last here.

Jorge, the oldest, first made his way from Las Vegas in 1997, when he was just 16.

“Very gang-infested, rough neighborhood growing up. My parents really weren’t around, not because they were bad parents. They were just really busy working and trying to provide for us,” says Jorge.

Jorge had to fend for himself and take care of his younger brothers. He says much of his childhood was taken away.

“One of the things growing up in Vegas, we never had a Thanksgiving. I remember my friends always talking about Thanksgiving and I thought ‘what is that’?” says Jorge.

At just age 13, he became involved in gang activity.

“Everywhere I looked, I was looking over my shoulder. I would go to school and get jumped,” says Jorge, “I used to look up to gangs. That’s what I thought my future was going to be…Probably on the path that I was going I would be in prison or dead.”

That’s when a flyer from Boys Town came in the mail.

Family teachers Ann and Doug Lenz were in their early 20s when they welcomed Jorge into their family.

“He decided to trust us. I think that in all of life, that’s how we have to be with each other is: we decide to trust you…and we decided to love them,” says Ann.

A feeling that Jorge never forgot.

“They never treated us like troubled youth…they always treated us like their own kids.”

Soon after, Jorge’s younger brother Enrique followed in his footsteps and joined him at Boys Town and so did his second younger brother Francisco.

“A typical seven-year-old nowadays gets the tuck in at night, sweet dreams, love you. That was non-existent. But arriving here to Boys Town was like, welcome to your second chance,” says Francisco.

The brothers agree it was not an easy decision for their mom to send them to Omaha.

“No mother wishes to just ship off their own blood to the middle of the United States. No mother wishes that. But I think that my mother had to make a decision. I believe it was a tough one, but look what came of it,” said Francisco.

Francisco started his time at Boys Town with the Lenz’ but also spent several years with family teachers Tony and Simone Jones. At the time the young couple had around 10 kids in their home, including two of their own biological children when they took him in.

“There’s not a time where working with Frankie, did I didn’t think that he would be a good person. There’s not a time working with any kid where I didn’t see the potential to be a good person,” says Simone.

“You fill not just a father role, but you fill a big brother role, an uncle role, a friend role. You fill the role that that young man needs in his life at that time,” says Tony.

The brothers thrived: playing sports, working jobs, and eventually graduating high school.

Although he didn’t go to Boys Town, their youngest brother Gabriel followed their example. All four Mazon brothers went on to serve in the Marines.

Jorge is now a police officer in California. Francisco went on to earn his associate’s degree and became a police officer. He’s now a detective for the Sex Crimes Bureau in Las Vegas.

Now as husbands and fathers, they strive to pass on those values they learned to their children.

“Now it’s our responsibility as the Mazon’s, and everyone that leaves this campus, to leave a footprint and pay it forward to the next generation,” says Francisco.

“Well done, and very proud, very proud of the Mazon brothers, very proud of them,” says Tony.

“How in the world can we take any credit for how phenomenal they are,” says Ann.

“I can’t really express how proud we are of those boys and to feel like we had a small part in that…that’s pretty awesome,” says Doug.

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